If you’re heading back to school this fall – or going for the first time – chances are you’re looking to buy a new computer. Apple is looking to shake some of its “Apple premium tax” status with the introduction of a 21.5-inch iMac that comes in at just $999 – a savings of $200 over the typical base iMac model. With its education status, it’s likely going to be for institutions only, but who knows…Apple has surprised us before.
- Display: 21.5 inches
- Resolution 1920×1080
- Screen: LED-backlit IPS display “with support for millions of colors”
- Processor: Dual-core Intel Core i3 @ 3.1 GHz (3MB of L3 cache)
- Memory: 2GB DDR3 SDRAM @ 1333 MHz (expandable up to 8GB at the Apple Online Store)
- Hard drive: 250GB HDD @ 7200 RPM
- Optical drive: Slot-loading 8x DVD+/-RW SuperDrive
- Networking: Gigabit Ethernet
- Wireless networking: 802.11n Wi-Fi
- Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 256MB GDDR5
- Sound: Built-in 20W stereo speakers, microphone
- Built-in FaceTime HD camera, mini-DisplayPort (not Thunderbolt), FireWire 800, 4 x USB 2.0, SDXC card slot
- Wired Apple Keyboard (with numeric keypad), Wired Apple Mouse
Apple made the new iMac public via a Knowledge Base update, and with little fanfare. At $999, the new education iMac becomes one of three more affordable Apple computers you can buy, and the most affordable Mac with an optical drive by a significant margin. The Mac Mini at $599 and the MacBook Air at $999 both lack the spinning medium.
In order to shave that $200 off the next level of iMacs, Apple made a couple of cuts, but for educational use – or even, if you can get your hands on one, as a perfect replacement for parents and the like. The $1199 model includes a quad-core Core i5, and this has a dual-core Core i3; the other offers 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, while this has 2GB and 250GB; the higher model offers a Thunderbolt port, while this one has just DisplayPort.
Still, it’s not a terrible bargain for schools looking to get into offering Apple computers, or for some cash-strapped design departments that would like to offer courses in Final Cut Pro. It’s unfortunate that Apple is making the sub-$1,000 computers available only to the education market, but at least some schools who want or need to acquire Apple hardware, will be able to do so at a cheaper rate.